The construction of the residential area south of Ring Mall is one of the most interesting and large-scale housing projects happening now in Sofia. Its development began at the end of 2020 and continues rapidly to this day. The movement for ideas for this site, however, has begun in 2017, when the investment company Danaos Development initiated an architectural competition for the project. SGI was invited to take part in the competition and subsequently won it. Although the following events led to the realization of another project, today we want to present you our vision for this much desired and full of potential area. This project gave us the chance to look at new types of housing products and to continue developing a methodology for applying established European norms for masteplanning into key sites in the city.
Looking at the specifics of the site we notice an easement on the western side that allows for a future extension of the cable car up to Vitosha mountain that will also be potentially connected to the city metro network in the future. This will allow easy access to Cherni Vrah by public transport which should, in turn, allow the municipality to restrict car traffic on the mountain and create better access to the ski areas in the winter. Currently, there are also high voltage cables suspended between pylons at the southern edge of the site that intersect with the views of the mountain and of course, the rather commercial aspects of Ikea and the Mall that are not necessarily desirable for the average residential customer.
All these constraints lead to a masterplan that is inward-looking, makes the most of the views and allows for a slightly defensive facade when coming in close proximity to the commercial areas and the noise of restaurants and general evening activity. The site is organized around a small park with footpaths linking each property to the external space and giving direct pedestrian access to the rather awesome facilities offered by the shopping centre.
The internal architecture itself we designed as a higher-end product which is reflecting the overall desire to create something that fits the quality of the location. There are two fundamental styles both on the townhouses and the detached houses, all with a common architectural language, but with fundamentally different approaches to the organization of space. Residential blocks are a cost-effective solution, but without compromising the quality, design and architecture.
ROW HOUSE TYPE A & B
The base version of the row house is designed to give flexibility to both the developer and the future buyer. It utilizes a single structural solution and gives options for either a double-height front room or a further bedroom on the first floor or there is the option to simply have a standard height front room and private south-facing terrace from the master bedroom.
The semi-detached units are used both as an end of terrace units or corner buildings and in a standard semi-detached arrangement within the site. They are three-story units, similar to the row houses which are necessary to fulfil the site requirements for density. The standout feature of these units is the ability to install an external lift next to the entrance as an upgrade if this is a client requirement.
The detached house options are two stories and have a larger footprint so has to be used sparingly within the site to avoid the feeling of overdevelopment. On the other hand, it allows a lower roof height and can be a very attractive solution. As with both detached house designs the building itself is used to create the boundary wall for the site which maximizes the garden area and gives added security, it also gives a boundary wall to the garden behind which is a typical detail for the region and a nod to traditional Balkan architecture.
The apartment units are very efficient but still luxurious in terms of allocation of space. Each apartment has usable external space for dining and common areas are kept to a minimum. The ground floor apartments have their own, private external space making them particularly attractive for families.
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